Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thunder 98 Heat 80

6 Thoughts

1) An odd 6 game road trip ends 3-3. Miami won pretty easily 3 times, got blown out 3 times. As Tim Hardaway would say, "sides is even." What can you do?

2) Kevin Durant, the Thunder's rising young star, was absurd. Only 36 points on 14-18 shooting, 10 rebounds, and 1 slap fight with Jermaine O'Neal. Not only that, but the Thunder has improved from the 27th ranked team by defensive field goal percentage last year, to third best this year. That can't happen unless your best player buys in on the defensive end, and sets the tone. Love Kevin Durant. You know who else loves him? Heat play-by-play announcer Eric Reid: "If you ever had a conversation with Kevin Durant, you would remember it. He is intelligent, well-spoken, and a joy to spend time with!" Ohhh-kay!

3) So while I was growing up, the Lakers' power forward was A.C. Green, and the most famous thing about him, besides his really bad jheri curl, was that he professed to be a virgin. Was proud of it, actually, and tried to preach abstinence until marriage. Okay, I'm with it - that wasn't exactly the path I chose, but, you know..Also, just for argument's sake, why even bother playing in the NBA if you aren't going to indulge in the, ummm, fans? Anyways, it occurs to me tonight: when, exactly, did A.C. Green get married? Because current Thunder power forward Jeff Green looks an awful lot like former Laker power forward A.C. Green...Check it out:

Let's do the math - A.C. Green was never married while he was playing in the league, and his career ended in 2001. Jeff Green was born in...I don't know, but it was before 2001...Awwww, I knew it, I knew A.C. Green was living foul! First Tom Cruise, now this! Tough week...

4) Okay, when, exactly, did legendary comedian Andy Kaufman die? Because Thunder starting center Nenad Kristic looks an awful lot like...just check it out:

5) In the second quarter, extremely talented, but occasionally wild, and always annoying with his smirking on court demeanor, Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook came over a high screen dribbling the ball, turned left and fired a pass out to the wing. Unfortunately, standing between Westbrook and the wing: Kevin Durant's face - Wham! Not sure I ever saw one quite like that before. And it's 50-50 Westbrook did it on purpose. Best play of the night!

6) So last week we reviewed a new album by Patterson Hood, which has grown on us, and turned out to be a real keeper. This week, we are mining the back catalogue of his band, Drive-By Truckers, whom we have heard of, but never listened to. Downloaded what is purported to be their best work, a 2002 double album called Southern Rock Opera. It's a southern rock opera - surprise! - about growing up in the 70s in the Deep South, where George Wallace, Bear Bryant, and Ronnie Van Zant reigned supreme. The album is super good! Super, super good!!! First of all, they rock - three guitars screeching and snarling all over twenty songs worth of southern rock. Last year we listened to Tom Petty's new/old band Mudcrutch and were disappointed because they didn't sound like a Mudcrutch, they sounded like a Byrds cover band. Drive-By Truckers sound like mudcrutch. Like this: muuuuuud-crutchh! Second, their songs are passionate and thoughtful - ironically, it isn't really made for southern folks, in a sense it is made for northeastern, New York Times-reading nerds like myself. It's like they are explaining to me, musically, "hey, we know you have this perception of us and our music - but let us explain how we really are, and what we really do." The song "Wallace," and its long intro, explains George Wallace's flip-flopping on the racial issue, and tries to present him as a flawed - humanly-flawed - person, but still condemns him in the end: "Put another log on the fire, boys, Wallace is coming," sings the Devil to his henchmen in the song. In the same way that I would play them Jane's Addiction, and explain what they meant to me, they do the same thing with Southern rock - primarily Skynyrd - and their own music. Every white dude secretly loves "Freebird," but I have never listened to an entire Skynyrd album or anything - they take away your NYT home delivery for that. So all I have in my head are far away echoes of these semi-exotic Southern rock sounds - now, after listening to Southern Rock Opera, I feel like I get it a little more, and I like it a lot more. Super cool. Let your freaky rebel flag fly, Drive-By Truckers, let your freaky rebel flag fly...